Speaking, Listening, and Living Courageously
We’re looking for an experienced Social Media Manager to join our production team. Loring Park is an exciting place to work, and we need someone who can draw on the ethos of On Being while bringing a distinctive voice and a strategic sensibility to our social media spaces. Are you interested in this adventure, or do you know someone who might be? Please spread the word in your networks.
The comedian and actor is becoming somewhat of a hero in our local Twin Cities community. He shows up unexpectedly at the St. Paul Saints (he’s a co-owner) minor league baseball games, taking tickets or stepping into the batting cage. In much the same spirit in Toronto, when asked by a reporter to explain what it’s like to be him, he gives this wonderful answer that resonated with folks again this week on our site:
“The only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself: That’s where home is.”
Embracing life — especially your own — and living it genuinely and fully is a key function of vitality. Suffering is part of being you, too. And it’s this “absurdity” that Jennifer Michael Hecht explores through the work of one of my favorite writers and philosophers, Albert Camus:
“We are stronger than our rock. Sisyphus and the rock can be a man and his tedious, repetitive work, but the rock is also life itself, even if there is no task to perform that is as onerous as the labor of Sisyphus. Every day must be borne, and the reward for bearing it is another day.”
“If we value things like friendship, family, community, education, workplaces that work, and democracy, there’s a minimum requirement. We must learn to talk with each other, even when we disagree.”
In this political season, we’ve witnessed a good deal of demonizing of candidates and others’ views. Parker calls on the poetry of Marge Piercy, and her language around impermanence and humility, to remind us of the importance of what we say, how we say it, and how we must listen.
“Relaxing with ambiguity is one of the hardest things I’ve ever attempted to do. It doesn’t suit my personality at all. And yet, I know it’s the most realistic way to approach the beautiful mess that is human relationships.”
Courtney treads a line that most of us encounter in our personal and professional lives: navigating the line between embracing fractious moments and letting things go. We either dwell too long or avoid “the inevitable crashes of intimacy.” Elizabeth Lesser and Pema Chödrön’s writings help her think through the paradox.
L’Shana Tova! To all of our Jewish friends celebrating Rosh Hashanah, may I wish you and your family a sweet and happy new year. I also send you a gift from our friends, photographer Matthew Septimus and poet Esther Cohen: a gorgeous postcard to usher in 5777.
Finally, thank you for the helpful feedback last week. I’ve made some formatting changes in response to your suggestions. Our weekly newsletter is a work in progress — always evolving, always changing to meet your needs. If you have any ideas on how I may improve it, please let me know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the wind always be at your back!